If I gave you just 15 easy tips to lower your breast cancer risk, would you do them? Of course you would! Since women have approximately a 12% risk of developing breast cancer if they live to 90, it’s more than a little scary. However, as with many different diseases, there are mercifully a number of preventative steps that we can start taking today. I passionately adhere to every lifestyle change that I outline below. But don’t take my word for it – Rather take the word of Dr. Kathryn Retzler, ND who I have learned so much from. In her Hormone Synergy Practice in Portland, she specializes in hormone and thyroid balance, and helps many hundreds of women and men to better health. So without further ado, here are her recommendations to significantly lower your breast cancer risk.
1.Eat 1-5 servings of fresh fruit and veggies a day. I would actually dial this up to 10 servings, and make sure that you buy organic if the produce item is on the Dirty Dozen list.
2. Restrict eating to a 12 hour window. Dr. Retzler believes that fasting during the night decreases inflammation and blood sugar, and has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer reoccurring. So if you eat breakfast at 7am, make sure you’re done with dinner and snacking by 7pm.
3. Eat a Mediterranean Diet. Yep – many studies concur that this in indeed the healthiest diet of them all. Loads of veggies, nuts healthy oils, and a little bit of clean protein.
4. Try to keep your blood sugar and insulin low: A meta-analysis of nearly 16,000 cases of breast cancer in more than 575,000 women, showed an increase in breast cancer in women who ate a high glycemic diet (foods that spike your blood sugar).
5. Eat more produce and fiber! Studies have shown a significant reduction in breast cancer risk in women who ate a diet rich in soluble fiber. Plant foods contain a ton of fiber. Just think how much you can pack into your morning smoothie!
6. Eat healthy proteins: Women need between 49 – 80 grams of protein daily (depending on your body weight). I recommend as many plant-based proteins as possible including non-GMO soy, beans, quinoa, and nuts. If you want to eat fish, make sure it is wild. Be careful of fish that contain a lot of mercury such as tuna and swordfish. If you eat meat, make sure it takes up only 20% of your plate, and buy it 100% certified organic.
7. Eat tons of organic berries and pomegranates: Tons means at least a half cup a day. These berries are very high in antioxidants, that help guard against free-radical damage.
8. Eat healthy fats! Fats are an important part of a healthy diet, but make sure that they are healthy. Trans fats (hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats), can lead to both cancer and heart disease. Healthy fats include nuts, seeds, avocados, grapeseed/olive/avocado oil, and golden algae oil.
9. Avoid AGEs! I wrote extensively about AGE’s (Advanced Glycation End Products), in my last book, Gorgeous For Good, because I believe they play such a big part in premature aging. Without going into the science of what they are and what they do, I will just explain how to avoid them: Cook with low-temperatures whenever possible (slow-cooking is great). Fry, roast and bake your food in moderation. Steam sauteing in the way to go, which means that you fry your onions etc with a tablespoon or two of water in place of oil.
10. Eat loads of herbs and spices: Spices such as turmeric are highly anti-inflammatory. Fresh green herbs contain tons of phytonutrients. Use these stunning seasonings liberally.
11. Drink Green Tea everyday! The health benefits and studies behind these health benefits are two numerous to mention here. But suffice to say that green tea decreases inflammation and oxidative stress significantly. Green tea has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancerous tumors. 3-5 cups of high quality green tea daily is recommended. I love Matcha Green Tea, and good quality, loose leaf Sencha.
12. Drink alcohol in moderation or not at all: one alcoholic drink per day increases your breast cancer risk by 10%, and two alcoholic drinks a day increase your risk by 20-40%. No more needs to be said, right?
13: Watch your Vitamin D Serum level: It’s worth having your labs done to check that your level is >30ng/mL or possibly 40-70ng/mL. As a general rule, most of us need to supplement with 1000 iu per day (some need more and some need less, depending on your age, and where you live).
13. Exercise: This is a huge risk-reducer! If yo exercise for about one hour a day, 3-7 times a week, it can reduce your risk of getting breast cancer by 20-60%.
14. Manage your stress: It’s worth finding time each day to connect to your breath – it’s the easiest way to reduce your stress instantaneously. I also recommend turning off all electronic devices for 30 minutes a day so that you can go back home to your center, or find your true North.
15. Supplements: Aside from Vitamin D, you might want to consider Melatonin, especially if you have a hard time sleeping. I also recommend 100-3000 EPA and DHA in the form of Golden Algae supplements.
Also check out Dr. Retzler’s Breast Protect supplement.